A day at the beach in NYC used to involve planning and packing a picnic, since food options in the outer, outer boroughs were notoriously, laughably scarce. But the Rockaways changed all that, when they became breeding ground for quality vendors, serving Venezuelan arepas, pure fruit popsicles, and everything in between. And while Riis and Coney Island have eagerly followed in the their footsteps, the slim stretch of surf and sand remains the indisputable O.G. of beach eats. So here’s a peek at some of Rockaway’s newest additions — from a Brazilian bistro from a former surfer to a haven of grilled cheese!
Beach Bistro 96: NYC’s hippest beach seems the perfect locale for former model-cum-surfer-cum-soccer star-turned chef, Carlos Varella, who previously worked at the West Village’s Peruvian eatery, Panca. His French-Brazilian bistro serves pasteis (sweet and savory stuffed pastries), bobo de camarao (shrimp stew) and traditional feijoada (pork, black beans and greens), as well as body-conscious fare like green juices and acai bowls.
Brothers: While there’s no denying the appeal of boardwalk burger-slingers like Rippers, the fare at newcomer Brothers is far more conducive to maintaining that bikini body; with options such as grain bowls, toasts, juices and smoothies, made from local ingredients and produce, sourced from Far Rockaway’s Edgemere farm.
Sharky’s: A welcome reprieve from its oh-so-wholesome neighbors, this debut concessionaire will serve up four different styles of grilled cheese, served on either rye or sourdough bread, and accompanied by crispy potato chip “ribbons” tossed in a proprietary spice blend.
Rockaway Brewing Company: Ready to do some serious boozing on the boardwalk? This Long Island City microbrewery is bringing its super local suds (such as “Yoga Pants” meyer lemon saison and “Rye-Day the 13th” ale) to a pop-up bar at Beach 67th Street, with plans to open an additional brick-and-mortar tasting room just five blocks away.
Community House: Opened at the tail-end of last season by a crew of Rockaway locals, this sprawling gastropub returns with chef Fernando Feites (previously of The Smith) at the helm, featuring hearty, craveable offerings such as New England Clam Chowder, Buttermilk Fried Chicken Wings, Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches and fresh Fish Tacos in grilled corn shells.
Tacoway Beach: Founded by former Rockaway Taco chef, Andrew Field, this Rockaway Beach Surf Club-located spot is back for its second year. And this season, they’re debuting a weekly dinner series called “Family Meal,” with menus based on what’s currently available from area farms, as well as from neighborhood fishermen.